Friday, September 13, 2013

Gratitude: It’s Not Only What You Say, It’s How You Say It

Growing up, most of us were taught the importance of saying “thank you” (often hand-in-hand with please). Hopefully those lessons in politeness have stuck with us to adulthood. Yet, as we become more socially aware, it is apparent the means to show gratitude can vary and require a measured approach. 

In the health professions, many graduate and professional programs conduct interviews to screen candidates for seats in their upcoming classes. It is highly recommended that students not only share their appreciation of being offered an interview while on site but also follow-up afterward in writing to show gratitude for the opportunity to meet with them. Thanking the school after an interview may not “make or break” one’s chances of being accepted, but it certainly can demonstrate professionalism, graciousness, and a genuine interest in the program. Not every applicant takes the time to be this thoughtful, and the kind gesture is noted. As a student digests this, a multitude of questions may come to mind. How should I go about this? Do I mail them a card? Send an e-mail? How soon should I send it so I’m timely but not too overzealous?

Although we are in an age where technology permeates our daily lives, in asking a few admission counselors, it seems more of them prefer the handwritten thank you card as opposed to an e-mail. Students should opt for a more professional looking card rather than something designed to give a friend or family member. It is still customary to drop a card in the mail within a couple of days of the interview. Yet postal mail may not be timely enough if an admission committee is making decisions shortly after your interview. In these situations, some applicants may send a brief e-mail first and then mail a thank you card within the next few days providing more in depth remarks about their experience. However, even under a time constraint, it would be inappropriate to come with a thank you card already written to give them immediately after the interview finishes. This would suggest a candidate didn’t take time to reflect on the experience or make the sentiment personal. When in doubt, students can talk with an advisor in the Patterson Center for suggestions on the best methods for delivering a thank you message as well as any other questions related to this topic. 

             Thank you!

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